Dick Wolf

Last updated
Dick Wolf
Wolf in 2010
Richard Anthony Wolf

(1946-12-20) December 20, 1946 (age 74)
Other names
  • Richard A. Wolf
  • Richard Wolf
  • Richard D. Wolf
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
OccupationTelevision writer, director, executive producer, creator
Employer Wolf Entertainment
Known for Law & Order franchise
Chicago franchise
FBI franchise
Susan Scranton
(m. 1970;div. 1983)

Christine Marburg
(m. 1983;div. 2005)

Noelle Lippman
(m. 2006;div. 2019)

Richard Anthony Wolf (born December 20, 1946) is an American television producer, best known as the creator and executive producer of the Law & Order franchise. Since 1990, the franchise has included six police/courtroom dramas and four international spinoffs. He is also creator and executive producer of the Chicago franchise, which since 2012 has included four Chicago-based dramas, and the creator and executive producer of FBI , which has also become a franchise after spinning off two additional series.


Wolf has also written four books. The first, the non-fiction volume Law & Order: Crime Scenes, is a companion to the Law & Order television series. [2] The Intercept, The Execution, and The Ultimatum, all of which are works of fiction, are volumes in a thriller series upon whose writings Wolf collaborates with N.Y.P.D. Detective Jeremy Fisk. [3]

Wolf has won numerous awards, including an Emmy Award, being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, and receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Early life

Wolf was born in New York City, the son of Marie G. (née Gaffney), a homemaker, and George Wolf, an advertising executive. [4] His father was Jewish, and his mother was Catholic of Irish descent. [5]

He was an altar boy [6] and attended Saint David's School, The Gunnery, [7] [8] and the University of Pennsylvania (class of 1969), where he belonged to the Zeta Psi fraternity. [9] He also attended Phillips Academy. [10]



Wolf worked as an advertising copywriter at Benton & Bowles creating commercials for Crest toothpaste, including the slogan "You can't beat Crest for fighting cavities." He is also credited with the campaign "I'm Cheryl, fly me" for National Airlines. Yet despite his success in copywriting, all the while he was writing screenplays in the hopes of a film career. It was at this time that he briefly collaborated on a screenplay with Oliver Stone, who was a struggling screenwriter at the time.

Initial screenwriting success

He moved to Los Angeles after a few years and had three screenplays produced; one of these films, Masquerade (1988) starring Rob Lowe and Meg Tilly, was well received. He started his television career as a staff writer on Hill Street Blues and was nominated for his first Emmy for an episode entitled "What Are Friends For?", on which he was the only writer. While working on Hill Street Blues, Wolf became close friends with Tom Fontana, then writing for the series St. Elsewhere , produced in the same building, at the same time. [11] Wolf moved from Hill Street Blues to Miami Vice , where he was a writer and co-producer for the third and fourth seasons. [12]

Law & Order franchise

Wolf's Law & Order, which ran from 1990 to 2010, tied Gunsmoke for the then-longest-running dramatic show in television history, making it one of television's most successful franchises. It has been nominated for the most consecutive Emmy Awards of any primetime drama series. Wolf serves as creator and executive producer of the current Law & Order drama series from Wolf Entertainment and NBC Universal Television – Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (which as of 21 June 2021 is the longest-running scripted primetime drama, having aired 494 episodes, breaking the original Law & Order count of 456, and beating both the original Law & Order and Gunsmoke in number of seasons). Wolf also was creator and executive producer for the four spinoff shows in the franchise that have been canceled – Law & Order: Criminal Intent , Law & Order: Trial by Jury , Law & Order: UK , and Law & Order: Los Angeles . [13] Along with Kevin Arkadie, he co-created the police drama New York Undercover , which ran on the Fox Broadcasting Company Network from 1994 to 1999. He also served as executive producer of the series. He was the creator and executive producer of NBC's courtroom reality series Crime & Punishment , which chronicled real-life cases prosecuted by the San Diego District Attorney's office. Many of Wolf's series have intersected with the Law & Order franchise in some fashion, and the Law & Order series have been adapted into several foreign versions. Wolf's company also produced Twin Towers , the 2003 Academy Award–winning Short Documentary about two brothers, one a policeman and the other a fireman, who lost their lives in the line of duty on September 11, 2001. Wolf was also involved with the production of a theatrical documentary about the popular rock group The Doors, titled When You're Strange . [14]

Organized Crime

On March 31, 2020, Wolf announced that the spin-off series has ordered for NBC to launch in the 2020–21 television, with Christopher Meloni reprising his role as Elliot Stabler, who left SVU nine-years earlier. The series will consist of 13 episodes. [15] On June 2, 2020, it was announced that the series would be called Law & Order: Organized Crime and showrunner Craig Gore has been fired. [16]

Hate Crimes

Wolf announced that it had an order of 13 episodes of the latest installment of the franchise entitled Law & Order: Hate Crimes. [17] However, March 4, 2019, NBC announced that the series would be heading back into redevelopment to flesh out the concept and such introduction on SVU would not take place. [18] On June 5, 2020, the series of Hate Crimes has moved to Peacock due to the language concerns. [19]

For the Defense

On May 3, 2021, Wolf announced that the spin-off series has ordered for NBC of the latest installment of the franchise entitled Law & Order: For the Defense along his showrunner Carol Mendelsohn. However, it was announced that the show would not move forward. [20]

Chicago franchise

Wolf developed Chicago Fire, a drama about a group of men and women working at the Chicago Fire Department. The series was picked up by NBC in May 2012, [21] and premiered on October 10, 2012, with meek numbers in the ratings and minimal reviews in the first few weeks before spiking to NBC's #2 scripted drama series, under Revolution. [22] In March 2013, NBC announced intentions for a spin-off of Chicago Fire, revolving around the Chicago Police Department. [23] When that series, Chicago P.D., premiered, Derek Haas, Michael W. Brandt, and Matt Olmstead became executive producers, under Wolf. [24] Two subsequent shows, Chicago Med, which premiered in 2015, and Chicago Justice, whose one season began and ended in 2017, followed in Chicago P.D.'s wake.

FBI franchise

In 2018, Wolf became executive producer of the CBS drama FBI starring Law and Order cast members Jeremy Sisto and Alana de la Garza who also appeared with her co-star, and Sela Ward, who appeared in the non-Wolf CBS series CSI: NY . [25] FBI has since had two spinoffs ( FBI: Most Wanted , and the upcoming FBI: International ), giving Wolf his third franchise.

For the 2021-2022 fall TV season, all three of Wolf's franchises will have their own night of programming - FBI Tuesdays on CBS (main series, Most Wanted, International), Chicago Wednesdays on NBC (Med, Fire, PD), and Law & Order Thursdays on NBC (SVU and Organized Crime). [26]

Other work

In 2012 Wolf developed the unscripted show Cold Justice, a documentary drama, for TNT. [27] He also has written three novels whose central character is NYPD Detective Jeremy Fisk: The Intercept, The Execution, and The Ultimatum. [28]


Wolf's personal honors include the Award of Excellence from the Banff Television Festival, the 2002 Creative Achievement Award from NATPE; the Anti-Defamation League's Distinguished Entertainment Industry Award, the Leadership and Inspiration Award from the Entertainment Industries Council, the Governor's Award by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the 1997 achievement award from the Caucus for Producers, Writers, and Directors, the 1998 Television Showman of the Year Award from the Publicists Guild of America, the 2002 Tribute from the Museum of Television and Radio, and a 2003 Special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. On March 29, 2007, Wolf received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7040 Hollywood Boulevard. [29] In 2013 Wolf was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Wolf is also an Honorary Consul general of Monaco [30] and is actively involved in the principality's prestigious annual Television Festival, and as its primary liaison with the entertainment community. [ citation needed ]

Political involvement

In addition to having been a classmate of former U.S. President George W. Bush, Wolf was an employer of Fred Thompson, who sought the Republican nomination for President in 2008 with help of the national attention he gained playing the district attorney on Law & Order. Wolf supported Thompson in his bid, as did Bush. It was reported that Wolf contributed to Thompson's campaign before he officially announced he was running. [31]

Future projects

Wolf's future projects for NBC are an American adaption of the United Kingdom psychological legal drama series Injustice [32] as well as a drama series revolving around a satanic cult, tentatively titled The Church. Wolf is writing the latter project with Howard Franklin. [33] [34] Wolf also has an untitled pilot about an insurance investigator on USA Network. [35]

With Wolf pursuing projects other than Law & Order, he and current Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner/executive producer Warren Leight sometimes discuss the future of the Law & Order franchise and revitalizing it; Leight commenting "(Dick Wolf and I) sometimes talk in general terms of where (the franchise) could go. I'm curious to see if there's another iteration somewhere down the line." [36]

In May 2021, NBC ordered a docuseries LA Fire and Rescue. The series will follow the firefighters of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and will be executive produced by Wolf. [37]





YearTitleNetworkCredited as
1985–1986 Hill Street Blues NBC NoNoYes
1986–1988 Miami Vice Noco-executiveYes
1989 Gideon Oliver ABC YesYesNo
Christine Cromwell YesYesNo
1990 Nasty Boys NBCYesYesNo
H.E.L.P. ABCYesYesNo
1990–2010 Law & Order NBCYesYesYes
1992 Mann & Machine YesYesYes
The Human Factor CBSNoYesNo
1993 South Beach NBCYesYesYes
1994–1998 New York Undercover Fox YesYesYes
1995 The Wright Verdicts CBSYesYesNo
1996 Swift Justice UPN YesYesNo
1997 Feds CBSYesYesNo
1997–1998 Players NBCYesYesNo
1998 Exiled: A Law & Order Movie YesYesNo
The Invisible ManN/ANoYesNo
1999–present Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NBCYesYesYes
2000 D.C. The WB NoYesNo
2000–2001 Deadline NBCYesYesYes
2000 Arrest & Trial Syndication YesYesNo
2001–2011 Law & Order: Criminal Intent NBC/USA Network YesYesYes
2003 Dragnet ABCYesYesNo
2005–2006 Law & Order: Trial by Jury NBCYesYesYes
2006 Conviction YesYesNo
2009–2014 Law & Order: UK ITV YesYesNo
2010–2011 Law & Order: LA NBCYesYesYes
2012–present Chicago Fire NoYesYes
2014–present Chicago P.D. YesYesYes
2015–present Chicago Med YesYesYes
2017 Chicago Justice YesYesYes
Law & Order True Crime NoYesNo
2018–present FBI CBS YesYesYes
2020–present FBI: Most Wanted NoYesNo
2021–present Law & Order: Organized Crime NBCYesYesYes
FBI: International CBSNoYesNo
TBA Law & Order: Hate Crimes Peacock YesYesYes
On Call IMDb TV YesYesYes


YearTitleNetworkCredited as
2013–present Cold Justice TNT/Oxygen YesYes
2015–2018Nightwatch [39] A&E/NBCUniversal YesYes
2015 Cold Justice: Sex Crimes TNTYesYes
3AM Showtime YesYes
2017Inside The FBI: New York [40] USA Network YesYes
2017–present Criminal Confessions [41] OxygenYesYes
2019Murder for HireNoYes
First Responders Live Fox NoYes
TBALA Fire and Rescue NBC NoYes




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<i>Law & Order: Special Victims Unit</i> 1999 American police procedural crime drama television series

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is an American crime drama television series created by Dick Wolf's own production company Wolf Entertainment for NBC. The first spinoff of Law & Order, it stars Mariska Hargitay as Captain Olivia Benson, the commanding officer of the Special Victims Unit in a fictionalized version of the New York City Police Department. Christopher Meloni was the main star SVU as Det. Elliot Stabler, until departing from the series in 2011 after 12 seasons. Meloni reprised his role as Stabler in 2021 in the spin-off series in Law & Order: Organized Crime. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit follows the style of the original Law & Order in that some episodes are loosely based on real crimes that have received media attention; these episodes are referred to as having been "ripped from the headlines".

Christopher Meloni American actor

Christopher Peter Meloni is an American actor. He is known for his television roles as NYPD Detective Elliot Stabler on the NBC legal drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for its first 12 seasons and its spin-off Law & Order: Organized Crime, and as inmate Chris Keller on the HBO prison drama Oz. In June 2012, he returned to HBO as the vampire Roman on the main cast of True Blood for the series' fifth season. Meloni also starred in and executive produced the Syfy series Happy! from 2017 to 2019. His films include Man of Steel, Wet Hot American Summer, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, 12 Monkeys, Runaway Bride, 42, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

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Law & Order is a media franchise composed of a number of related American television series created by Dick Wolf and produced by Wolf Entertainment. They were originally broadcast on NBC, and all of them deal with some aspect of the criminal justice system. Together, the original series, its various spin-offs, the TV film, and crossover episodes from other shows constitute over 1,000 hours of programming.

Matt Olmstead is an American writer and producer for television shows.

<i>Deadline</i> (2000 TV series)

Deadline is an American drama television series created by Dick Wolf, that aired on NBC from October 2, 2000 to April 7, 2001. It stars Oliver Platt as Wallace Benton, star columnist for the fictional New York Ledger, a daily tabloid newspaper seen in many episodes of Law & Order and modeled after the real-life New York Post.

Peter F. Jankowski is an American television and film producer. He is President and Chief Operating Officer of Dick Wolf's Wolf Entertainment, headquartered in Universal City, California. His work across both film and television have earned him an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a nomination for an Emmy Award. Jankowski has produced over 1900 episodes of television.

Warren Leight

Warren Leight is an American playwright, screenwriter, film director and television producer. He is best known for his work on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Lights Out and as the showrunner for In Treatment and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. His play Side Man was a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

<i>Law & Order: Special Victims Unit</i> (season 1) Season of television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

The first season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, premiered on September 20, 1999 on NBC and concluded on May 19, 2000. Created by Dick Wolf, it is the first spin-off of Law & Order and follows the detectives of a fictionalized version of the New York City Police Department's Special Victims Unit, which investigates sexually based offenses. SVU originally aired on Monday nights at 9pm/8c EST, but it was moved to Friday nights at 10pm/9c after the ninth episode. Showrunner Robert Palm felt too disturbed by the subject matter and left after the season's conclusion.

<i>Chicago P.D.</i> (TV series) American police procedural television drama series

Chicago P.D. is an American police procedural action drama television series created by Dick Wolf and Matt Olmstead as a part of Wolf Entertainment's Chicago franchise. The series premiered on NBC as a mid-season replacement on January 8, 2014. The show follows the uniformed patrol officers and the Intelligence Unit of the 21st District of the Chicago Police Department as they pursue the perpetrators of the city's major street offenses.

<i>Chicago Fire</i> (TV series) American drama television series

Chicago Fire is an American drama television series created by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas with Dick Wolf as an executive producer. It is the first installment of Dick Wolf’s Wolf Entertainment's Chicago franchise. The series premiered on NBC on October 10, 2012.

<i>Chicago Fire</i> (season 1) Season of television series

The first season of Chicago Fire, an American drama television series with executive producer Dick Wolf, and producers Derek Haas, Michael Brandt, and Matt Olmstead premiered on October 10, 2012, at Wednesday 10:00 p.m. EST, on NBC television network. The season concluded after 24 episodes on May 22, 2013.

<i>Chicago</i> (franchise) American television series franchise

The Chicago franchise is a media franchise of American television programs created by Derek Haas, Michael Brandt and Dick Wolf, produced by Wolf Entertainment, and broadcast on NBC, all of which deal with different public services in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago franchise has maintained strong ratings leading primetime in total viewers averaging nearly seven million viewers per show between Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med.

<i>Chicago Med</i> 2015 American medical drama television series

Chicago Med is an American medical drama television series created by Dick Wolf and Matt Olmstead, and is the third installment of Wolf Entertainment's Chicago franchise. The series premiered on NBC on November 17, 2015. Chicago Med follows the emergency department doctors and nurses of the fictional Gaffney Chicago Medical Center.

Chicago Justice is an American legal drama television series that aired on NBC from March 1 to May 14, 2017. The series was created by Dick Wolf and is the fourth installment of Wolf's Chicago franchise. A backdoor pilot aired on May 11, 2016, as part of the third season of Chicago P.D. before being ordered to series. The show follows the prosecutors and investigators at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office as they navigate their way through Chicago area politics, the legal arena, and media coverage while pursuing justice.

<i>FBI</i> (TV series) 2018 American crime drama television series

FBI is an American crime drama television series created by Dick Wolf and Craig Turk that airs on CBS, where it premiered on September 25, 2018. The series is produced by Wolf Entertainment, CBS Studios, and Universal Television, with Dick Wolf, Arthur W. Forney, Peter Jankowski, and Turk serving as executive producers.

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Law & Order: Organized Crime is an American crime-drama television series that premiered on April 1, 2021, on NBC. A spin-off of the long-running series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (SVU), and the seventh series in the Law & Order franchise, the series stars Christopher Meloni as Elliot Stabler, reprising his role from SVU. The show features a "single-arc" storyline that will take multiple episodes to resolve. In May 2021, the series was renewed for a second season which will consist of 24 episodes. The second season is scheduled to premiere on September 23, 2021.

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Wolf Entertainment, the production company behind hit television franchises, including Law & Order, Chicago, and FBI, was founded in 1985 by producer Dick Wolf. Originally named Wolf Films, the company was rebranded to Wolf Entertainment in 2019.


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